​High Schoolers Shown Clips From Pretty Woman at Dress Code Assembly

Visual material can be really helpful in the classroom. For example the “Carol never wore safety goggles” poster worked for decades. Most of my understanding from science comes from Bill Nye The Science Guy videos. But when it comes to talking to students about a dress code, maybe don’t show them a film about a prostitute.

Principal Ryan Hanson of Devils Lake High School in North Dakota is in hot water after a teacher showed his students a couple clips from Pretty Woman, you know, that movie about a prostitute who pretends to be a rich dude’s girlfriend for a week to make some point about the way the young women at the school dressed. Then the female students were compared to the main character Vivian who, again, is a prostitute. Via Huffington Post:

“‘[Pretty Woman]’ was used in two small clips, one where Julia Roberts is scantily clad and walks into a store and they basically admonish her and say this probably isn’t the store for you,” Hanson said told HuffPost. “The next clip showed her after a makeover, dressed to the nines really looking appropriate. She goes into the same store and they treat her much differently.”

Just wow. If you look at that pair of scenes from Pretty Woman and think, ‘Wow, that store was right to kick her out, and I’m glad she learned her lesson and started dressing appropriately!’ you’re probably watching the movie wrong.

The teacher who led the assembly insists that the purpose of showing the clips was to emphasize how much the way you dress affects how others perceive you. Yeah, lots to learn there from a fictional romantic comedy about the value of proper dressing and etiquette and class and perception and also the value of women. Great job.

Honestly, if I was a student at Devils Lake High, I would definitely take the Pretty Woman clips to heart and start coming to class in dress suits and excessive shoulder pads.

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